I see repeatedly in my work as an IT professional, organisations ‘putting off’ analytics or business intelligence initiatives that involve pushing analytics, or data discovery, out to more people (beyond senior teams). These are frequently organisations where people out in the field are making continuous daily decisions on stock levels, retail pricing, room utilisations, and the like. These all impact key revenue and expense drivers in their organisations and people just don’t have ready access to the information they need to be responsive and change decisions (and outcomes). Their weekly or monthly emailed reports aren’t current enough and are purely historical. Nor can they provide longer term insights to perhaps change the way the business delivers, buys or sells (impacting profitability and customer satisfaction) based on data rather than ‘gut feel’.
I’ve seem a few articles lately, from some of my favourite bloggers, that support something I firmly believe: the more people in an organisation that have access to information/data, the more insight, the better the decisions, and importantly, the better action they will take.
I’m talking about different insight into your customers, suppliers, market place, trends than you already have to lead to improvement and innovation.
In a recent article by Donald Farmer, he referenced the Australian Bureau of Statistics findings that there is a drought in Australia. Not the extreme weather event kind, there is an innovation drought from Australian organisations.
I appreciate this refers to innovation into the local and global market place. Innovation can also be inside-facing too, innovation inside our own organisations.
I compliment any organisation that has invested time and money to discover their data (both in terms of what they have, and the power it holds), drivers, and measures and have gone on a journey to report, plan and analyse to get a better outcome.
This is a great and important step forward and, well executed, one that will deliver a good set of outcomes (hopefully exactly the ones you set out to achieve plus some). It sets you up for an important next step. We need to go beyond this, though as ‘guided’ reports designed centrally, are still only a limited perspective. It can be a powerful perspective however, typically designed to drive specific decisions and actions for a specific audience.
We need to open up discovery to many more people to give them the ability to make better decisions and gain insight. Insight that may even be the seed for a new product or service, or significant improvement in customer retention, or a new way to produce your widget differently to the next guy.
Now I do live in the real world. There is challenges to all this. I know first-hand. Data, governance, access, culture, technology. If it’s important enough though, there are the skills and technology in the marketplace to help. And it is important enough. Yes it’s an investment. But the question is what it costs not to do something. Don’t miss out.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and business intelligence here.
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